AAO sets its sights on women in Web-based education effort

To better educate the public about eye health, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) launched EyeSmart, an awareness campaign that targets women, ages 40 and older, as they are considered primary healthcare decision-makers.

Objective: To better educate the public about eye health, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) launched EyeSmart, an awareness campaign that targets women, ages 40 and older, as they are considered primary healthcare decision-makers. The initiative was first launched in 2007, but the group is now adding new components. Because these women are also the most active group seeking healthcare information online, the nonprofit recently ramped up its social media efforts to communicate directly with this audience, said Siobhan Bunaes, VP of communications and media at the AAO.

Idea: The PR team created Ask an Eye MD, a Web-based service that allows consumers to pose questions to ophthalmologists about eye health, said Will Taliaferro, partner at GMMB, which is working on the campaign. Answers will be posted online as educational tools for other consumers. The service is “one of the bigger drivers for us in terms of building awareness for the campaign and the issues that we're concerned with,” added Bunaes.

Tools: Information on the service was added to the AAO's Facebook page and YouTube channel. As the effort continues, the PR team plans to promote Ask an Eye MD on Twitter and through outreach to third-party organizations that can link to the online service, said Bunaes.

Measurement: It will record the number of Facebook groups and friends, e-newsletter sign-ups, and online questions, as well as overall growth in Web traffic. The AAO also plans to issue a survey in four years to measure the success of the campaign's message. 

Organization: American Academy of Ophthalmology
Campaign: Ask an Eye MD launch
PR Team: GMMB
Launch: March 20
Budget: Undisclosed

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